A culture of learning is needed more than ever when the leader wants to combine vision, business objectives and the need for new capabilities in the ever changing business environment. Having a culture of learning means that ‘learning’ becomes a part of the company’s DNA—not compartmentalized into a particular aspect of the culture, or within a certain department or function. Here are a few insights on how leaders can utilize every challenge into a Learning opportunity.

आ नो भद्राः क्रतवो यन्तु विश्वतः।।

RigVed 1.89.1 

Let noble/ auspicious thoughts come to us from all directions of (this) universe

Now that we have spoken about our visionaries, purpose, goals and efforts in earlier Sutras, lets speak about thoughts, which guide actions Most have heard of this verse.

This insight from RigVed –  speaks about Diversity thousands of years before the modern world conceived it. It is encouraging us to keep our minds and hearts open – to receive – pure, meaningful and wholesome ideas, thoughts, perspectives, opinions, suggestions, stories from every corner of this world. Diversity starts in the mind. This is one of the bedrocks of true learning!

समानी व आकूतिः समाना हृदयानि वः समानमस्तु वो मनो यथा वः सुसहासति।।

RigVed 10552 

Aligned be our aspirations; aligned be our heart’s desires; aligned be our thoughts; so that we may live happily, in unison

Earlier, we studied the first verse of RigVed where we were introduced to Agni, now we study this beautiful last verse of RigVed

This verse from our most sacred scripture –  tells us what an organization means: It starts with a shared purpose, then individual goals being in alignment, then the thoughts which arise for performance of action. If all these happen, without doubt, the organization will be a thriving and happy organism, with the whole being larger than the sum of parts! Behold the profundity of this verse.


विषादप्यमृतं ग्राह्यं बालादपि सुभाषितम्। अमित्रादपि सदवृत्तम मेधादपि कांचनम्।।

Manu Smriti 2.214 

Nectar should be extracted even from poison; wisdom of even a child should be accepted; virtues of even an opponent should be accepted; and gold should be taken out even from dirt

Here we receive a great insight from one of the earliest Leaders humans have known – he says: doesn’t matter who or what appears before you, develop the capacity to glean out the good in it!

The prominent quality of a Leader is his/ her eye to find the sublime everywhere – this will enable him/ her to make the most of every single resource available – human or otherwise. Many Managers tend to only see the obvious but Manu suggests developing a much finer vision

Remember we were told by Shukracharya (in an earlier Sutra) that nothing exists without value – are you able to find it?

उद्योगिनं पुरूषसिंहमुपैति लक्ष्मीः दैवम देयमिति कापुरुषा वदन्ति। दैवं निहत्य कुरु पौरुषमात्मशकत्या यत्ने कृते यदि न सिधद्ध्यति को अत्र दोषः।।

Ghatakarpara Neeti V.20

Prosperity attends on the Lion like bold person who puts in best efforts; only the unworthy say that destiny rewards! Dismiss the notion of destiny and exert, with one’s own inner power – if despite efforts, success doesn’t come about, where is there any fault?

Ghatakarpara, amongst the Navratnas of Vikramaditya’s court – reiterates one of the principles of attaining prosperity!

This advice from the scholar poet, mirrors the guidance from Hitopadesh, which enunciates that: all power to create prosperity, lies within the Leader’s being. All outcomes are connected to meaningful actions.  1. The Leader should translate the purpose into strategies 2. Strategies should be converted into plans, which take into account every possible scenario 3. He/ she should not depend on favourable conditions to cause fruition of plans and 4. When plans fail, he/she should go back to the drawing board without regrets – check the causes and rectify them, declares this ancient master!

Investigate – when you face setbacks, what do you attribute it to – circumstances or choices? List down the changes you’ll make NOW!

श्लिष्टा क्रिया कस्यचिदात्मसंस्था संक्रान्तिरन्यस्य विशेषयुक्ता। यस्योभयं साधु स शिक्षकाणां धुरि प्रतिष्ठापयितव्य एव।।

Malavikagnimitram 16

In the case of few, excellence is, as long as it abides inside them; in the case of others, it shines when transmitted to another. The great one, in whom, both qualities are well established, alone should be given a place of honour, among teachers!

Pandit Kalidas, the greatest of playwrights in the world, explains that Leaders are Teachers!

The lines captured from the world-renowned play, wonderfully articulate the fact that knowledge amassed alone makes no person great. Nor does imparting that knowledge, which is yet to mature. The Leader must: 1. Identify his/ her areas of competence and take them to a level of expertise 2. He/ she needs to develop facilitation/ teaching skills 3. That done, he/ she needs to develop a method and process of transferring that knowledge, and groom others. That knowledge or wisdom which resides within but not imparted to others, fades away with the Leader, proclaims Kalidas!

 Make a list of your talented deputies. Think of how each one learns best – classroom/ coaching/ on the job, etc. Now prepare a 3-month plan for imparting your knowledge in a suitable way to them, with clear timeslots!